Nejra Gradan

UWC attended: United World College of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Class Year: Class of 2019

When you are from a small town in a small country that is still rebuilding what was broken about 20 years ago, diversity is a very scary word. Just like any other country that is still tormented with ghosts of its past, Bosnia is sadly a very dysfunctional country. Four years ago, as a teenager who had just started high school, this made me very angry. I felt lost, powerless and neglected by a system that doesn’t care much about its youth as it has much bigger problems. But in 2012 I was lucky enough to come across a movement that would change my life forever. After a long application process I was accepted into United World College in Mostar, an education movement with a peace statement. Trying to describe or explain what UWC actually is and what does it mean to be a UWC student would take much more than a page because it is, and it means, something different for everyone. For me personally it was a chance. A chance to experience what I could have never experienced at home. A chance to be involved, aware and educated. A chance for my voice to be heard. A chance to be able to choose who I want to be in this world and a chance to do it all with the most amazing and diverse group of people who acknowledge that education is power and diversity is a strength.

I realized that this is the path I want to continue on so I looked up dozens and dozens of US colleges but nothing “clicked,’’ not until I came across Lewis & Clark College. At first I was mesmerized and taken aback by the beautiful campus and the proximity of the city but then I read these words “Our students represent the next generation of global thinkers and leaders, unafraid to discard conventional thinking, civic complacency, and outmoded preconceptions” and I knew that this is the kind of place I could imagine myself at for the next four years.

I think that Lewis & Clark College is a great place to continue building what I have started at United World College. For me education is very important and I am very interested in International Relations, Russian language, and Economics. But I hope to learn outside of classroom, too, and I hope to share my experiences and lessons I’ve learned at UWC. Also, I am excited to share my culture with other students, to get to know their cultures, and continue enriching myself and others with new friendships that will last for life.